Pope No Longer Prohibits Condoms

Monday, August 06, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 0 Comments

The Lower House is about to decide on the Reproductive Health Bill debacle. The RH Bill has been a hot topic the past few days because it touches on religious issues, such as the use of contraceptives. But unbeknown to many critics of the RH Bill, something monumental has already happened in the Catholic Church: Pope Benedict XVI has issued a statement last 2010 that the Church no longer prohibits condom use.

During an interview with The Pope for a book on the Vatican, he explained how condoms are not an absolute evil.


Condom use, in certain situations,
is a responsible act.
– Pope Benedict XVI

I remember learning about Pope John Paul II and his morphine declaration: if morphine is used to relieve pain, even when it is at doses that may cause death, it is justified as the goal is to relieve pain, not to bring death. It was such a humane statement that incurred both praise and backlash. I feel that the statement issued by Pope Benedict XVI on condom use is going to accomplish the same controversy.

Is the Catholic Church Against Condoms?

Is the Catholic Church against condoms or not? Catholics have always been adamant about the derogatory nature of condoms. But last 2010, the Pope has explained a few things about condom use that have arguably changed the landscape of Catholicism. Below are the facts taken from the interview.

  • The Vatican believes that condoms are not necessarily evil. Pope Benedict XVI said it was alright to use condoms and any other prophylactic measure meant to decrease HIV infection risk.
  • The Catholic Church still believes that contraception unnecessarily interrupts the cycle of life. However, the Pope also said that if the goal of condom use is to promote life and prevent death (and death is bound to happen after HIV infection), then condom use is justified.
  • The Pope said condom use, even among non-married couples, may just be a responsible thing to do. He said that although the Catholic Church doesn’t really see condom use as a moral solution to the issue of STDs and other sex-related issues, it is a step towards a humane point of view on man’s sexuality.
  • Abstinence from intercourse is still the “gold standard” for the Catholic Church. But condom use is allowed if it helps protect a person’s life.

Contraception has always been a touchy topic for many as it is viewed as wrong by some groups while it is seen as a solution to many societal problems by many. In the past, the Vatican has even aired confusion among its ranks, with some priests lobbying for the approval of condom use.

The Pope’s statements have caused a lot of controversy. For some Catholics, it was good news. For others, it seemed like a statement that brought about confusion. As a Catholic doctor, I have also shared my views on condom use, especially in the clinical setting.

What about you? Do you agree with the Pope no longer prohibiting condoms? In light of this new information, do you think the Vatican is actually rooting for the RH Bill? Or are you against the passing of this bill in the Philippines? Do you think the Pope is right in lifting the ban against condoms among Catholics? Share your thoughts through a comment.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.